Report blames Rio-Paris crash on faulty speed probes

Defective speed probes were responsible for the crash of Air France flight 447 over the Atlantic while it was en route from Rio de Janeiro to Paris, a report by an Air France pilots’ union – due to be handed to investigators this week – concludes.

AFP – An Air France pilots’ union will present a report to investigators this week blaming defective air speed probes for the crash of Air France Flight 447 over the Atlantic, a newspaper reported Sunday.

The pilots’ report contradicts the findings of the French agency leading the investigation, the BEA, which has said that the speed monitors were a factor, but not the leading cause of the crash that left 228 people dead on June 1.

The union points the guilty finger to the plane’s manufacturer Airbus, Air France, civil aviation authorities and the European Aviation Safety Agency among others for under-estimating the problems with the sensors.

The report argues that all of them knew of problems with the pitot tubes over the past 14 years and that, had they moved to correct them, the crash “would have probably been avoided”, the Journal du Dimanche reported.

Air France Flight 447 was flying from Rio de Janeiro to Paris during stormy weather when it crashed into a remote area of the Atlantic, about 1,000 kilometres (600 miles) off Brazil’s coast.

Just before dropping off radar screens it had emitted a series of automatic warning signals indicating systems failures.

The Airbus A330’s black box flight recorders have not been found, but French investigators said in a report that the faulty speed sensors were not the only explanation for the accident.

“Such an event cannot be reduced to a single cause,” said Gerard Arnoux, president of the Spaf pilots’ union.

“But there is an unchallengeable truth that we must insist on: without the breakdown of the pitot tubes, the accident wouldn’t have happened,” Arnoux told the newspaper.

The crash was the worst in Air France’s 75-year history.

Both the European air safety agency and Airbus advised airlines after the disaster to replace the type of pitot tubes used on the doomed jet with a more reliable model made by a US firm.


Rio wins bid to be host city

(Reuters)Rio de Janeiro will host the 2016 Olympics after seeing off Madrid in the final round of voting among International Olympic Committee members on Friday.
Carlos Osorio, general secretary of the Rio bid, told Reuters: “Overwhelming, spectacular, unbelievable.”
In an astonishing start to the voting, Chicago, the odds-on favourite, went out in the first round, despite receiving unprecedented support from United States President Barack Obama and the first lady.
It was a rebuff for Obama, who had become the first sitting U.S. president to address an IOC session.
Tokyo followed them out in the second round, leaving Madrid and Rio to slug it out in the final round.
Rio will be the first South American city to host the Games.

Decision day for Games host dawns

The International Olympic Committee on Friday started a key meeting to choose the host for the 2016 Olympics with US President Barack Obama pressing the case for Chicago against government leaders and kings from rival bidders.
Japan’s new prime minister Yukio Hatoyama is fighting for Tokyo, Brazil’s President Luiz Inacio Lula Da Silva for Rio de Janeiro and Spain’s King Juan Carlos and Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero campaigning for Madrid.

Chicago were first to give their presentation to the 100-plus members of the IOC.

Generally seen as odds on favourites they were led by a relaxed looking Obama and his wife Michelle as they bid to become the first American city to host the Summer Games since Atlanta in 1996.

Obama, former senator for Illinois and resident of Chicago for nearly 25 years, flew in on Friday while the US First Lady has been lobbying IOC members here since Wednesday.

Chicago began first to be followed by Tokyo, the only one of the four to have previously hosted the Games, Rio, attempting to bring the Games to South America for the first time, and rank outsiders Madr

Deal looks close on Brazil buying French jets

The French President has been the special guest at Brazil’s Independence Day celebrations, but he may have some celebrating of his own to do.

Nicolas Sarkozy seems to have received some good news from his Brazilian counterpart.

Local officials have announced that Brazil will enter negotiations with France for the purchase of 36 French-made fighter jets. The Rafale aircraft, made by Dassault Aviation, has never before been exported outside of France.

In a media release, both countries say talks over the Rafale will include a French plan to buy a dozen military aircraft from Brazil.

If these talks are as advanced as they sound, and a deal is close, it will be disappointing news for the American company Boeing and Saab in Sweden. They had been hoping to sell their new fighter jets to Brazil.

France has already won a contract to help Brazil build more than 50 helicopters and nuclear-propelled submarines.